Seven ways: a holistic approach to demand management

03 October 2014

See below for a free taster day introduction to our approach.


Demand management: the buzz phrase of the moment – a miracle cure to the efficiency problems we face. All things to all people, everyone using it seems to mean something different, and quite narrow. But what does it really mean? Our deep experience in social care has led us to develop a holistic view of how demand can be managed.

If you'd like to find out more, come along to two FREE upcoming events, both on Friday 14 November in Vauxhall, Central London:

  • First, a power breakfast with Warren Hatter of With the Grain, 9-11.30am - click here for more
  • And to complete the day, an introduction with case studies and applications to the practice of systems leadership, 11.30am-3pm - click here for details

Demand Management Flower

We believe there are seven ways to manage demand:

1. Predictive modelling using big data and informatics to test out many options and interventions across the system

We create models of population/demand generation, provision, and intervention. Rather than trying to find the 'best possible' configuration, we run simulations against different scenarios of all three, sometimes thousands or hundreds of thousands. We are looking for the interventions and provision which are robust in a number of likely scenarious, so we produce results which are probabilistic, not prescriptive.

2. Measurement and evaluation, drawn from the same model, to test and learn from the real impact compared to the predicted impact

Once you have a model, you have a way to predict success. When you then take action, you can measure your prediction, measure against counter-factuals in the model, and do two things: understand how successful your interventions have been, and learn to improve both the model and the interventions. So you have a model of your system and a learning loop which is always there.

3. Systems leadership to shape integration, pooled budgets, and a more creative and productive culture

See our page on systems leadership here. More than just leading across organisational boundaries, this is about shaping the whole system for better results. This goes from the mechanical (integration, budgets, aligned performance indicators) to the intangible but powerful, like culture and behaviours

4. Prevent demand from arising: behavioural science, social marketing and community resilience

Work in the community, prior to demand arising, can be the most powerful. This requires more than simply communications campaigns; it requires a real understanding of how people and individuals shape their behaviours

5. Early intervention: targeted early intervention, developing the universal offer, and look for, and spread, positive deviance

Even as need arises, we can prevent it from becoming demand on services by extending the capability of the community with our own short interventions, or, failing that, we can provide cheaper, easier to access offers which head off the demand at the pass. This relies on good segmentation and tatrgeting, and includes: targeted early interventions, developing the universal offers, using circles of customer need to meet need early on, and finding the 'positive deviants', those who succeed despite the odds, and helping the community to model their behaviour.

6. Deal with demand more effectively: use agile change to improve access structures and flows

About 12% of spend in services like social care is spent on the obvious social care organisation - asssessment, information, and case management. Interventions here can be incredibly important, and we have developed our agile approach over a period of fifteen years to work with the frontline to drive real, sustainable, ongoing improvement.

7. Manage purchase and spend: align service user, provider, and purchaser interests to reduce spend and increase impact

The remaining 88% or so of spend to meet demand is triggered by the access and process layer, but is spent on buying in service provision of all kinds. Critical here is to find the mechanisms which align the incentives and interests of all parties.



Come to our free event in London on November 14: a Power Breakfast with Warren Hatter on behavioural science from 9am-11.30am followed by a day with practical examples and ways to apply each of the seven ways from 11.30am-3pm.

We believe in conversations

Frank Curran 07515 875381

Dennis Vergne 07980 541990 dennis.vergne@redquadrant.comtt